Counting down to Election Day

The new tabulation machine for the Iron County election sits waiting for the big day – Photo by Tracie Sullivan – Behind the Headlines

CEDAR CITY – While there are still two weeks left in the primary election cycle, voting has already begun.

Ballots for the June 26 primary election went out to registered voters last week and early voting at the polls started today.

“We’ve already begun getting some of the ballots back that we sent out in the mail,” Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker said.

For voters who would rather cast their ballot in person, early polling places are available through June 22 at the Parowan Courthouse and the Cedar City Council Chambers. One more polling site will be added June 26 at the Enoch City Offices.

Under Utah law, this primary election is closed to Republican voters only. Selected candidates will then move forward as the Republican nominees to run against any opposing-party candidates in the general election.

All Iron County races will be decided in the primary however, as Republican candidates are the only ones running for the following offices: Iron County Commission Seat A and B, Iron County Attorney and Iron County Sheriff. These seats are all running unopposed by another party.

The names of the candidates are listed on the primary ballot as follows:

  • United States Senate – Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy
  • Utah House District 71 – Mark S. Borowiak and Brad Last
  • Iron County Attorney – Scott Burns and Chad Dotson
  • Iron County Commissioner Seat A – Michael P. Bleak and Fred C. Rowley
  • Iron County Commissioner Seat B – Paul Cozzens, Sam Brower, Jennie Hendricks and Michelle Jorgenson
  • Iron County Sheriff – Kenneth K Carpenter, Caleb Anderson, Del Schlosser and David Evans.

In 2016, there was an 86 percent turnout. Whittaker attributes that number in part to the new mail-in ballots he believes allows for more informed and active voters.

“It gives voters the chance to sit down in the privacy of their own home and really research the issues and for them to think about their choices for office,” Whittaker said.

Once a ballot is complete, voters can mail them or drop them off at a polling location. Voter registration is open until June 19 and same-day registration is possible.

This year, Whittaker received $121,000 from the legislature to buy new election equipment. The machines are meant to replace the old system dating back to 2005 and will provide for a more secure environment.

“The equipment is never exposed to any network,” he said. “The idea being that you can’t hack what you can’t see.”

Each polling place will have one new voting machine set up to be used primarily for the physically disabled.

In addition to the new machines, Whittaker uses various precautionary efforts to further secure Iron County votes including multiple layers of encryption and tamper-evident seals. All signatures are also confirmed by real people.

When the ballots come in to the county, the signature affidavits are separated. Signatures are then compared to that which is on record with the voter registration. Every signature is verified whether you vote by mail or a polling site, Whittaker said.

After confirming the signature, ballots are then tabulated by a machine which makes the process faster than having to individually count them. Around 3,000 paper ballots can be counted per hour using the new machine.

Early voting is available at the following locations and times:

Cedar City Council Chambers, 10 N. Main, Cedar City

Iron County Clerk’s Office, 68 S. 100 East, Parowan

June 13 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

June 14 and 15 – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

June 18 and 19 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

June 20, 21 and 22 – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Election Day Voting will be held June 26 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the above locations and at the Enoch City Council Chambers, 900 E. Midvalley Rd., Enoch City.

You may also drop off your mail-in ballot to any polling location.

Canvass of Elections will be held Mon. July 9, 2018 during regular commission meeting.

June 19 is the last day to register to vote in person and online voter registration at County Clerk’s Office, 68 S. 100 East Parowan.

June 21 is the last to request an absentee ballot.

June 26 – May register as a Republican at a polling location if you are currently registered as unaffiliated. No ballot is available for any other parties in this primary.

Voters will be required to provide valid voter identification to the poll worker before voting as follows: a valid form of photo identification that shows your name and photograph or two different forms of identification that shows your name and current address.

For more election information go to Vote Utah.

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